Murray, J.J. 1963- (John Jeffrey Murray)

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Murray, J.J. 1963- (John Jeffrey Murray)

PERSONAL:

Born October 16, 1963, in Abington, PA; married Amy Renee; children: Joshua Malik, Jontae Emmanuel. Education: Marietta College, OH, B.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Roanoke, VA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, educator. Former high school English teacher in VA; current instructor at wilderness school for at-risk youths.

WRITINGS:

Renee and Jay, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Something Real, Kensington books (New York, NY), 2002.

Renee and Jay 2, James Crowe Press (Roanoke, VA), 2004.

Original Love, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2005.

I'm Your Girl, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of Calzone Street: Poems from the Melting Pot.

SIDELIGHTS:

Former high school teacher J.J. Murray turned to novel-writing to recount, in fictional form, his four-year courtship of his wife. Renee and Jay is a Romeo and Juliet story of a black woman and an Italian man who fall in love. A reviewer for Essence thought this debut novel was "certain to arouse both controversy and curiosity." In Renee and Jay 2, Murray takes the couple's story forward, chronicling their first decade of marriage.

Murray is also the author of several other novels dealing with race. In Original Love, a forty-year-old white man is posing as the black female author of a string of romantic comedies. A projected autobiography is turned down by his wary editor and leads the writer to search for a long-lost love, a beautiful African American girl he knew as an adolescent. Booklist reviewer Patty Engelmann praised this work: "Full of interesting characters, Murray's novel about a romantic journey of self-discovery is a true standout." With I'm Your Girl, Murray presents another interracial love story featuring a black librarian who reviews books, and the white author she pans (and who writes novels about black women). Engelmann, again writing in Booklist, noted: "Murray writes a gentle romance about cultural differences and deep commonalities in a unique tale."

Murray told CA: "I used writing to escape my sisters and reality—in that order. Because we moved so often, I was the shy ‘new kid’ for most of my young life, and the only constant part of my childhood was my writing.

"My extended family influences my work the most. Just when I think I've exhausted their literary worth, I spend some time with them … and have ammunition enough for at least one more novel.

"I handwrite the entire novel using extensive notes and lots of mini-legal pads, napkins, receipts, old envelopes—anything with available writing space. Once I have one- hundred-plus pages of notes—and the all-important ending locked down—I begin typing. And editing. And typing. And editing … You get the picture. I write best late at night or early in the morning because I have two sons who are up from sunrise to sunset.

"Something Real is my favorite book by far because of its positive effect on readers around the world. Although the book came out in 2002, I still get heartfelt letters and emails thanking me for telling ‘their’ story."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2005, Patty Engelmann, review of Original Love, p. 42; September 15, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of I'm Your Girl, p. 46.

Essence, August 1, 2001, review of Renee and Jay, p. 64.

ONLINE

J.J. Murray Home Page,http://www.johnjeffreymurray.com (July 5, 2007).

Paperback Reader,http://www.paperbackreader.com/ (November 3, 2005), review of Original Love.

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Murray, J.J. 1963- (John Jeffrey Murray)

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